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Riding Seattle Light Rail 1/8/2017

by Chris Guenzler

I woke up and after getting dressed, went on line and posted a picture on Trainorders that I took last night at Edmonds. Bob and Elizabeth made an excellent waffle and sausage breakfast which is always a treat to eat. About 10:20, we loaded up the car and drove Bob to Macy's so he could do his day's work. We gassed up the car then drove to the Angle Lake Seattle Link Light Rail station and parked in the parking structure. We walked to the ticket machines to get my ticket and the evil machine would not accept my credit cards so I had to use $20 so now I have a pocket full of dollar coins to go with the others that I have obtained. We walked upstairs and boarded a waiting train whose destination sign said University of Washington and we expected to ride the train there straight through. Boy were we wrong!

Sound Transit Light Rail Construction History

In March 2002, Sound Transit began the process of acquiring land in the Rainier Valley when its board authorized the agency to purchase all of sixty-four properties and parts of two hundred and thirty-two others. Sound Transit was also informed that Link Light Rail received a rating of "Recommended" from the Federal Transit Administration, making it eligible for federal funding. Critics of the project viewed it as further troubles for the project because prior to the previous year's problems the project had a rating of "Highly Recommended", while supporters viewed the rating as an affirmation of the progress the project had made since then.

In an attempt to ease the worries of Rainier Valley residents about the impact of light rail, Mayor Nickels proposed over $50 million in investments in the neighborhood, including paying off small business loans, burying power lines, and other community developments. The proposal was unanimously approved by the city council, but not without some complaints that the timing of the funding was questionable as the city was facing budget cuts and that it was the city that was making the funding and not Sound Transit.

The main line from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Downtown Seattle {Westlake Center} opened in 2009.

A new 3.1 mile extension opened from downtown Seattle to Capitol Hill to the University of Washington station on the north end of the line on March 19, 2016. A new 1.6 mile extension opened from Sea-Tac Airport to the Angel Lake station on September 24, 2016 on the south end of their system.

My trip

The doors buzzed, flashed and closed and we both were off on new mileage as far as the Sea-Tac Airport stop.

The parking structure at Angle Lake which we parked the car in.

The south end of Sea-Tac Airport.

The Alaska Airlines hangar.

The Delta Airlines hangar.

Delta Airlines planes.

Sea-Tac airport.

The unique parking structure at Sea-Tac Airport.

An American Airlines plane.

Alaska Airlines' northern terminal.

Three planes and three faces makes a neat picture.

Distant view of the Sea-Tac Airport control tower. We stopped at the Sea-Tac Airport station.

The view right after the Sea-Tac Airport station.

Sea-Tac Airport control tower.

Crossing International Boulevard before the Tukwila International Boulevard station.

Descending the grade to the Rainier Beach station.

Descending the grade onto Martin Luther King Jr. Way. We made stops at Othello, Columbia City and Mount Baker stations.

Approaching the Beacon Hill tunnel.

The Seattle Light Rail maintenance facility. Right before the SODO station, it was announced that we would all have to get off the train at Stadium and take a bus through the Downtown Transit Tunnel to Westlake Center where we would board a train for the rest of the way to the University of Washington.

Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners. We arrived at Stadium, got off and walked over to bus, taking a seat in the back. The bus took off and we started down the transit path en route to the Downtown Transit Tunnel when I took another here.

Century Link Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks. While we were in the tunnel, we made stops at Chinatown, Pioneer Square and University Street before Westlake Center. On the way to Westlake Center, the bus operator made another announcement and said "Get off the trolley, go behind it to the other platform". When we got there, I did just that. Then a transit security guard scolded me for walking across the transit tunnel. He asked if I had seen the writing on the pavement saying not to cross. I replied that I was not from here and I look down the tunnel to make sure there were no trains coming. His response was to not do that again and I said I would not. Elizabeth must have known what to as she went up the stairs, over the top and back down the stairs where she met me. As you can tell, I do follow my operator's directions 100% all the time.

Views looking both ways in the Downtown Transit Tunnel. We waited in the tunnel on the west side and got to watch a plethora of buses passing before us. So now you may sit back and enjoy (especially Roy Wajohn!) these pictures.

King County Metro buses.

Our trolley finally arrived. We all boarded and took a trip the rest of the way to University of Washington. We made one stop at Capitol Hill and continued through the tunnel to the University of Washington station. Elizabeth stayed on the car to keep our seats and I got off to photograph the trolley in the station.

The trolley at the University of Washington station, ending our new mileage from Westlake Center station to the University of Washington station. We rode the trolley back to Westlake Center and detrained, being grateful with this service mess that we were able to ride all the new mileage of the extensions of the Seattle Link Light Rail.

The trolley leaving and returning to the University of Washington. Two buses arrived with most people flocking like penguins to the first one, while Elizabeth and I boarded the second bus which was much less crowded. We went back through the tunnel and when we came to Stadium, we turned left and our driver then stopped the bus to let us all off. This allowed us to beat the crowd back to the trolley. We rode back the whole way to Angle Lake and enjoyed the whole trolley trip. We both disliked having to take the bus. My feeling for buses is that they are okay if you know you are going to take them to get to a train. It is no okay to ever surprise me with putting me on a bus. Had we been told this, we would have ridden the new mileage from Angle Lake to Sea-Tac Airport where we could have turned around, detrained and driven to the University of Washington, parked and rode that section from there to Westlake Center. So if their signage had said Stadium rather than University of Washington, we would have been pre-warned.

An airplane taking off from Sea-Tac International Airport on our last leg to Angle Lake.

Our trolley at Angle Lake station.

An airplane taking off from Angle Lake station.

A final view of a second trolley at Angle Lake station. We walked back to the car then drove to 7-11 to get enough Coca-Cola to get me home. We drove back to Lynnwood, listening to the first period of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning game. After one period, there was no score. We arrived home and turned on the NHL Network and watched the rest of the game which featured plenty of scoring by Pittsburgh and very little by Tampa Bay for a 6-2 Penguins win. During the game, I did the pictures, labelled them and then we wrote the story which we finished just after the game ended. Elizabeth did my laundry while she got to watch my reaction when the Penguins scored. Tomorrow, I must leave the company of Bob and Elizabeth Alkire and head home aboard the Coast Starlight.